Lammerding's statement made at Dortmund in February 1962

 

    This document is the one that featured briefly in the French television documentary: Oradour, Retour sur un Massacre which was broadcast on 29th May 2004 by France 3 and was claimed to show a clear, unambiguous order to destroy Oradour. It was intended to show that there was no mystery concerning the attack on the village, it was all a deliberate, cynical plan to crush the French Resistance and 'blood' the SS-Troops. This idea, it was claimed had come from within the highest levels of Das Reich. It was also intended to absolve the Resistance from any responsibility for the massacre by suggesting that the abduction of Sturmbannführer Kämpfe had nothing at all to do with the affair.

    As will be realised on reading Lammerding's full statement below, in conjunction with the statement of Kahn and the transcript of the video (Oradour, Retour sur un Massacre), that the program makers were being very selective in what they showed and claimed in their presentation. The claim that the massacre was carried out to orders by Lammerding (or Stadler) is not supported by Kahn at all, in fact he repeatedly says that Diekmann only claimed that the order came, "from the Regiment" and that he (Kahn) subsequently never saw or heard any supporting evidence for this claim. Lammerding of course denies all responsibility and says a) that he does not feel guilty for the events at either Tulle or Oradour and b) that Oradour was entirely Diekmann's fault for grossly exceeding his orders given to him by Stadler (which were to the effect that he was to take hostages to secure Kämpfe's release).

    The statement is reproduced in full, in English translation below and there are some points to bear in mind when reading it:

    1) The standard of spelling is good and unlike the statement made by Kahn it contains virtually no errors. Diekmann's name is correctly spelled, unlike in Kahn's statement which consistently spells it as Dieckmann. Remember that Kahn knew Diekmann personally and signed his statement as being correct, so it does seem odd that he let such an obvious error go uncorrected (it is worth knowing that both Diekmann and Dieckmann (and Dickmann and Dikmann) are valid German family names).

    2) Lammerding was giving this statement in order to escape the possibility of his being extradited to France and also so that he could sue people (principally the press) who where, in his view slandering and libelling him over the Tulle and Oradour affairs. Kahn gave his statement to help old comrades, principally Lammerding, who was the commander of Das Reich at the time of the attack on Oradour and by implication the reputations of Sylvester Stadler and the Waffen-SS in general and not for his own personal benefit.

    3) The statement reads poorly, it is not great prose, it is the words of a man answering questions on events from his past, perhaps events that he wished had not happened. It is very obvious in certain parts of his statement that Lammerding wishes to show himself, if not in a good light, then at least as an innocent bystander to events.

    4) I have located the statement made by Kahn in December 1962 and this has now been added to the website. I now know that there are more written statements from other members of Das Reich and I will try to add them as they come to light. On this website there is also the trial judgement against Heinz Barth from 1983 and this should be read in conjunction with this statement.

    Read the statement and make up your own mind as to its reliability and value; my comments below are in italics. At the foot of the page there is a section explaining the use of parenthesis and the doubt about the spelling of some names.

 

45 Js 2/62

Dortmund 19. 2. 1962 {Monday 19th February 1962}

                                                                                                                                                               
Present:

Prosecuting attorney Siehlow as examiner.

Justice-employee Weilenhüscher as secretary.


The Certified Engineer Heinrich Bernhard Lammerding appeared and had explained to him the subject of the hearing and was admonished to tell the truth, following with a reminder that this was a responsible hearing.


The person:

I am called Heinrich Bernhard Lammerding, born on the 27. 8. 1905 in Dortmund, now resident in Düsseldorf-Unterrath, 6 Sperlingsweg, Telephone Number: Düsseldorf 424307 or 08, by occupation a building contractor, married since 16. 6. 34 to Ceilie Schulte, with 2 children aged 24 years (son) and 23 years (daughter), German, previously convicted once because of traffic-offenses. {presumably this was a post-war driving offence, but I have no details}.


The résumé: {Compare this résumé with that of his SS records written in June 1935}

I was born in Dortmund as the son of the architect Heinrich Lammerding and his wife Gertrud Espenkotte. Here, from 1911, I attended at the primary school, in order to go on in Easter 1915 to the municipal humanistic preparatory school. With a one year interruption - from 1920 to 1921 - I attended the humanist high school at Paderborn - I attended the higher school in Dortmund until 1925 and concluded with the High School Leaving Certificate. With the summer semester of 1925, I completed a six-month practical activity in the construction trade. In the winter semester of 1925, I matriculated at the technical college Munich, as a student of the school of civil engineering. I had, to due to my father's death in 1927, to temporary interrupt my studies, from 25. 3. 28 until 30. 4. 29 and during this time worked with the administration as a trainee and work-student in Dortmund; in the summer-semester of     1929 I applied again to the technical college in Munich. Then I had again to interrupt my studies until the 1. 11. 1930, in order to obtain further resources. With the winter-semester, I took up my studies at the technical college in Brunswick in 1930 and finished my studies with the diploma-main-examination in November 1932. I have the academic degree of a certified engineer. Since the economic circumstances were extremely bad in the construction-trades at that time, I didn't find any promising employment at first.

{Lammerding's experiences during this time were typical of many people in Germany during the depressed years of the Weimar Republic, when financial inflation was in astronomical numbers. Many people lost all they possessed and poverty was widespread, a situation that proved a breeding ground for the emergence of extremist political parties who promised a brighter future.}

After different jobs in the private construction industry and with the city construction administration of Dortmund, I signed on to a defence-sport-course in the autumn of 1933, whose supporter was either the Reichswehr or the SA. On the 18. 10. 1931, I simultaneously entered the Party and the SA. At this time, I had the rank of an SA - Obertruppführer.

{The "defence-sport-course" was one of the activities organised by the Nazis to disguise the fact that their military training and re-armament program was in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles.}

On 14. 10. 1933 after Hamm, I was summoned to a training course, presumably by the Reichswehr in order to form the Münster cavalry regiment. After the basic training I came on the 8. 11. 1933 to the pioneer-battalion Minden, where I remained 10 days, until a course on the 20. 1. 1934 at the Pioneer Practice Place in Klausdorf-Sperenberg under the management of Major Petersen, at my discharge I didn't get any military rank since this education ran in the framework of the Black Reichswehr {the name given to the armed forces of Germany which exceeded the limits set down in the Treaty of Versailles and which were kept hidden from the outside world.} However, I was told at the end of the course that I would have attained the qualification of a
Kompanieführer.

I was then again busy for a short time with my occupation; however I was drafted on the 6. 3. 34 from the SA - Gruppe Westphalia {SA was the common abbreviation for Sturmabteilung, or Storm Troopers,} to the construction of a pioneer-school for the SA in Höxter. I was asked at that time whether I would have an interest for such a job and I accepted even though I didn't as yet secure an economic situation with reference to it. After I had made preparations for the construction of the school, there took place on the 4. 4. 1934, my transfer as an adjutant and adviser to the Pioneer-Inspectorate to the Upper SA - Leadership in Berlin. Meanwhile I was promoted to Sturmführer. There, I was at first until 2. 11. 34. and afterwards with the reorganisation, I became the adjutant for the Gruppenchefs 1. When the post of head of the SA Training [held by Erich Ehrlinger] was dissolved, I moved to the Waffen-SS on 1st April 1935 and it was decided after a selection course that I would become a Platoon Leader in the Pioneer section of the Waffen-SS. I was taken on as an SS - Untersturmführer, however by 1st May 1935 I was promoted to SS - Obersturmführer. I became a Platoon Leader in the first company of this unit and I became a Company Leader by the end of the year 1935. I was meanwhile, on the 30. 1. 1937 promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer. During this time, I also attended different courses of the armed forces and also a company-leader-course with the pioneer-school II in Klausdorf, a course of the Heeresgastschutzschule in Berlin and at the Heeressportschule Wündorf. Also, I was called up for a course of ideological education at the RuS-Schule [The Rasse - und Siedlungshauptamt Schule]{The Race and Settlement Office } of the SS in Berlin-Grunewald. From the 22. 4. until 12. 5. 1938, I attended a course for older Kompaniechefs of the armed forces in Riesa that was under the management of the Generalleutnant Txxxnn, senior Pionierführer III in Dresden. Here, I received the qualification of
Bataillonskommandeur.

In accordance with a plan of the chief of Staff of the SS-Verfügungstruppen {The SS-Disposal Troops; which is what the Waffen-SS was originally called } I attended a special-officer-course of the war-school Munich of the armed forces, in the year 1939 for 6 weeks, so that I also had the certificate for the attendance of a war-school. At the end of the course, I came with effect from the 1. 8. 1939 as a tactics-teacher to the Junkerschule {Officer-School } Brunswick, the war-school of the Waffen-SS. I remained here until the 15th October 1939, as a Kommandeur to take over the newly made up pioneer-battalion of the SS-Totenkopf Division. Concurrently I was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer. With this unit, I took part in the western-campaign and also remained in France after the 1940 armistice in the area of the AOK [Armee Ober Kommando] 6 (General Dulxxxxh). With regard to my background, I was appointed to the general staff-career towards the end of the year; however I didn't participate in a course at the war-academy. I got my introduction and the necessary instruction with the AOK [Armee Ober Kommando] 6 (Chief of Staff). Probably after I had gone through this course satisfactorily, I was transferred as 1a to the SS-Totenkopf Division (commander: SS-Gruppenführer Eicke). With the Division, I then came into the framework of the preparations for the Russian-campaign in the east, where I attended a course of divisional-commanders and general staff-officers with the tank-group 3 (Generaloberst Hoth) in February 1941. This training course served the management of the guidance of tank forces with wide-sweeping movements. With the Division I participated in the year 1941 and 1942 in the Russian-Campaign in my position as 1a. Our Division got into the cauldron of Demjansk on that occasion in the winter 1941/42. After the cauldron had been burst open by us, I received the order, to set up the formation in the home-war-area again. In the camp at Paderborn as SS-Obersturmbannführer, I now took over the SS-Infantry Regiment 9 "Thule" that was newly formed from units of the SS-Gebirgs Division Nord and the SS-Totenkopf Division. The Division then transferred to France for further training. In winter 1943 my unit had in the meantime been renamed the SS-Kradschütz Regiment and after the events at Sharkow was transferred to Russia. I led the regiment as far as to the Belgorod-Offensive in the summer 1943. I must add that I was promoted on the 30. 1. 1943, to SS-Standartenführer. On the 1. 6. 1943 as Chief of Staff to the SS-Corps II, I was commanded to lead the staff. Here, I remained with effect however for only a short time, as from the 1st August 1943, I was appointed Chief of Staff to the Bandenkampfverbände {anti partisan unit.} This unit was a mixture of SS and Wehrmacht, forces to which police-units were still joined. The commander of the Bandenkampfverbände was the SS-Obergruppenführer Bach-Zelewski, who at this time was the senior leader of the SS and police-units. For this action, he received a Waffen-SS-Rank. The task of this new unit was to unify the different anti-partisan forces and lead them in a uniform military way. All military units of the East-front including Southeast should have been combined here in order to operate more successfully in the future. It was my task at first to set up a top management. After this staff was essentially viable, I came back again to a pure Waffen-SS-Unit, however I first had to replace a fallen or broken-down commander of the Police-Division. That was in November, or the beginning of December 1943. As I hadn't had a proper vacation for a very long time, I drove back home through East-Prussia on or about 20 December 1943. Here, I was however once again on the 2nd Christmas-holiday called back, by long-distance-letters to take over the parts of the 2nd SS-Panzer Division "Das Reich" which was still operating in Russia. Approximately half of the Division had been withdrawn already from Russia to France, I correct; to Stablack (East-Prussia) to be freshened up. Through the Russian attacks, the remaining formation could not be detached but was combined into a Kampfgruppe under my leadership. With this group, I had to hold a 60 km wide gap in the middle of the Russian front that had been ripped open by the previous attacks of the summer. I think that the Kampfgruppe was deployed until end March / beginning of April 1944 {It was and then left Russia to rejoin the rest of Das Reich in France.}

On response to the allegation:

It is correct that I was awarded the Knights-Cross of the Iron Cross for this action on the 11. 4. 1944 {The date of the award is shown in his records as being 1. 5. 1944, but probably that was the date the medal was conferred and the earlier date was the date of notification.} With this Kampfgruppe, I then came in April, or maybe the end of March 1944, to Southwest-France, in the area of Bordeaux-Langon. In a short time thereafter the Division moved into the area Toulouse - Montauban, where the final revitalization and training took place. When the invasion began in June 1944 in Normandy, my Division was the first Division placed in march towards Normandy. After heavy fighting in area of Avranches, I was severely wounded on the 25 July 1944 and handed over the command of the Division. In October 1944, I again assumed the control of the Division in the Eifel and participated with Manstein's army in the Christmas-offensive 1944/45 {Known as, "The Battle of the Bulge"}. After the offensive reached a deadlock, the Division was extracted, I myself was appointed to the Chief of Staff of the Army Group Weichsel under Himmler. In March 1945 I had to give up this service position because my wounding required another treatment in the military hospital. Towards the end of the war, that is approximately at the end of April 1945 I got the order to take over a new SS-Division "Nibelungen", this I led until the May 2 1945. I was briefly in captivity, then released from the camp, however and at first under my correct name, but withholding of my SS-Service Rank I lived in Bavaria. I had already registered by the middle of 1945 with the police in Düsseldorf. For my occupation I then took over a building site business. {As described above in his résumé, Lammerding was a qualified Civil Engineer and he returned to this profession in Düsseldorf, building up his business until his death in 1971.}

To the Point:

The accusations made against me in my service-position as a divisional commander in France in the year 1944, are well known to me. These accusations were already the object of penal-procedures before French military-courts and therefore are well known to me, however, I was not in France for the proceedings, also I was not heard in Germany by a prosecuting attorney until now. In principle I have to explain that I don't feel guilty. {In this document Lammerding repeatedly states that he does not feel guilty about any of the crimes of which he has been accused. What it is significant to note, is that he does not deny that they happened, just that he has no feelings of guilt or responsibility about them.}

I) To the accusation, of shootings by a section of the Division at Aurillac during the time from the 4th to 7th June 1944, I have to acknowledge responsibility for the following: The Division was, according to my memory until the 6th June 1944, at that time in our quartering area of Montauban-Toulouse. We admittedly were operational; however the training was not yet completely concluded. In particular, there was a lack of material equipment.

The Division, a Panzer-Division, was composed of the following units:
2 Panzergrenadier Regiments: "Der Führer" and "Deutschland", {not to be confused with the non-SS Division, "Gross Deutschland"}
1 Artillery regiment with 3 sections, one being a self-propelled gun section,
1 Panzer Regiment "Der Führer" No 4 with 2 sections,
1 Pioneer Battalion,
1 Communications section,
1 Reconnaissance section,
1 Assault gun section,
1 Anti-aircraft section,
In addition, the Division supply services.

During our deployment in the quartering area I in fact got the command repeatedly, for parts of the Division to be at the disposal of the established military organization for combat with partisans. Under the reference, that the Division was in training, I almost always succeeded to, 'get out of these demands'. It could have happened that once or twice, a Platoon or a Company had to be turned out for a short time notwithstanding. I know however with certainty that in the period from 4th to 7th June a detachment in the area of Aurillac didn't take place, because after the invasion on the 6th June 1944, there had been an increased alert for all units of the Division in the quartering area. The marching orders reached me either in the evening of the 6. 6. or in the morning of the 7. 6. From the armoured infantry, all units were not yet equipped with vehicles since in the preceding period the motor vehicle-transports had been partially lost to us through raids. Therefore only one combat team of armoured infantry under the leadership of SS-Standartenführer Stadler (regimental commander "Der Führer") could be made march ready, in fact the 1st and 3rd battalion DF ("Der Führer") and a battalion of the Regiment Deutschland. The commander of the Regiment Deutschland remained in the quartering area with the remaining 3 battalions in order to wait for the input of the motor vehicles. The remaining units were march-ready for the most part {It was men from the Deutschland Regiment that attacked the village of Marsoulas on 10th June.} The Division then moved off on the main road from Montauban to Brive and Limoges. The tank-regiment possibly moved forward on a parallel road to the east. When I look at the map for the location of Aurillac, I hardly believe that the march-column touched this place at all since it lay much too far east. I therefore don't believe at all that a unit of the Division during the period of the 4th to 7th June touched this place, especially since we only set off at the earliest in the evening of the 6th June. {Kahn makes the same claim in his statement and it does sound true. It seems that Das Reich Division was being blamed for other unresolved atrocities on the basis that they had been the nemesis of so many actions by the French Resistance, that that they made a convenient scapegoat.}


II) To the accusation about Tulle, it is to be said at first that I was personally sentenced to death for this issue in the year 1949, together with three further members of the Division by a French military court in Bordeaux. However, I myself was not present, just like my then Ic, the SS-Hauptsturmführer Kovacs, that had already fallen in 1945 in the area of Stuhlweißenburg with the final battles near the Plattensee. I present the death certificate of Kovacs as well as further documents, which my defender, attorney Dr. Julius Koch handed over to me, for the preparation of a photocopy, so that the public prosecutor's office can make photocopies of it for itself. The commander of the Reconnaissance Detachment, SS-Sturmbannführer Wulf and a Pioneer Platoon Leader of the Reconnaissance Detachment, whose name is not familiar to me, were present in Bordeaux at the court martial. Both inserted an appeal against the verdict to have it annulled. This was decided in Paris and one day both were deported to Germany. I know nothing more about the annulment. In addition a series of Divisional members stood before the court only because of their membership of an illegal organisation; {post-war, the whole of the SS was declared to be an illegal organisation by the allies } however their penalty was deemed to have corresponded to their time served in imprisonment.

To the incident myself, I still have the following memories. On this day, I stayed with the artillery-regiment in Uzerche. That was on the 8th June 1944, as I drove to the artillery-regiment in order to inform myself about its march readiness. Since the artillery-regiment, besides the tractor units, also had armoured tracked vehicles, I wanted to know how many vehicles had survived the march so far. I must do a retraction: possibly, I was on the 8. 6. 44 on the march to Uzerche. In the course of 9. 6. 44, I with certainty, made an inspection with the Regimental Commander SS-Standartenführer Stadler. During this time a radiogram reached me, according to which the Reconnaissance Detachment as well as the Division operations staff from Brive had turned off to Tulle. I cannot say today any more, whether the reason for this was indicated immediately. Since this alteration was not quite comprehensible to me, as Tulle was out of the way of the march route, I decided to follow the detachment. Since the area was considerably partisan-infested between Uzerche and Tulle, I decided to go back after Brive. There I learned from the headquarters that my units had driven there because of a cry for help from Tulle. It was said that the local garrison was locked in a severe fight with the Resistance. As I established later, it was about a local garrison battalion of the army that had to guard an ammunition-factory in Tulle. {the GIAT arms factory.} When I then arrived in Tulle, the leader of the march-column, SS-Sturmbannführer Wulf, reported to me the following: Either by the Local Headquarters in Brive or by a soldier, the danger in Tulle had been pointed out to him and he then performed the march-alteration on the request of the Local Headquarters. It could also have been just an appeal by the Local Headquarters. On the march to Tulle, that took place on the 8. 6. 44, the detachment got into action itself however, until it broke through after Tulle. On this occasion, it succeeded in being horrified at first by the battalion in the factory. At this time, they found 40 dead, greatly mutilated German soldiers. Because of the closing-in of darkness and the uncertain situation, the detachment then retreated again in order to wait before Tulle for the next morning. Then on the 9. 6. 44 the place was combed. On this occasion, they found even more dead persons and badly mutilated soldiers. Altogether, it would have been 64 people. As a result Wulf had, on the basis of a command of the AOK [Armee Ober Kommando] 15 from the 12. 2. 44, which I as well present; first arrested the male population altogether. Together with the mayor, an investigation of the men then took place and this allowed the male inhabitants of Tulle to go free again. Only the ones, whose identity was not clarified and who thus justified the suspicion of membership of the Resistance in the opinion of the French mayor, would have been held on to. In this action, the Ic was decisively involved. Then the command was given by an officer, to execute 98 of the held-on-to people. The basis for this command for execution was the instruction from the Army High Command that the Division had received when it was transferred to France and which regulated the treatment of partisans. {These were the Sperrle Orders detailing the harsh measure that were to be used in order to deter the Resistance from attacking German soldiers.} Furthermore, the Divisional judge Detlef Okrent, present at that time with the Headquarters Staff and at currently resident at 3 xxxxxn-xxxxxch, Fxxxdstr, on being questioned, pointed out as legal grounds the Hague Convention on Land Warfare. I do not know today who gave the immediate order. I can also say once more that I am not sure if I knew at the time. In any case, the situation was so, that when I arrived on the 9. 6. 44, I already found them hanged. My first order was to cut down the bodies. Shortly after my arrival I had a discussion with the bishop of Tulle, who asked me if he could church-bury the dead persons. On this occasion I found out from one of my officers that spiritual assistance had been granted at the execution. I immediately agreed at that time that the dead persons should be buried. {An interesting point here is that Lammerding quotes 98 men were hung, yet the memorial in Tulle says 99. The discrepancy may be due to one of the victims being shot whilst he was attempting to escape, so the total was indeed 98 hung; plus 1 shot. I know that the whole business was ghastly and unjust, no doubt about it at all; but Lammerding had a point.}

Response to accusation:

The proclamation that was posted in Tulle on the 9 June 1944 and was signed, "The Commanding General of the German troops", didn't come from me, as it was with high probability already published before my arriving. Anyway, I didn't publish the proclamation myself; also this proclamation must have been published beforehand, since in it, it speaks of 120 executed persons, while actually only 98 were executed. However, I must say that if it had been submitted to me, I would have signed it. This command has according to my opinion the legal grounds already mentioned since it came from The Army High Command and / or the Armed Forces Commander West {Hugo Sperrle.} After examination of the instruction it must be assumed that the Armed Forces Commander published the instruction, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army High Command 15 only passed it on. {Lammerding is saying here that he approved of the action to hang 120 men, but did not arrive in time to sign the proclamation personally, before it was printed and posted-up all over Tulle.}

It is interesting in this connection, that according to intercepted messages from the Maquis by my Ic, to hear that they were ordered to disrupt the advance of the Division no more, as a result of the Division hitting back so promptly and so strongly.

Finally to this point it would only be said, that according to the general war situation the action in Tulle was covered by the guidance, also after a general view of the conventions of war, executions were conducted according to the rules of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare. I must correct myself: It must be called "Hangings". The number of the executed is extremely low with reference to the losses of the Garrison Battalion (64 to 98), not to take into account the losses of the Reconnaissance Detachment on the advance after Tulle. The number of these losses possibly Wulf can say; whose address I will later communicate. {The guidance given by the Commander-in-chief-West Hugo Sperrle, was for 1 resistance member to be executed for every wounded German soldier and 10 for every one killed. On this basis 640 members of the Resistance should have been executed; assuming that they were available. The point the Lammerding was making was that by his interpretation of the rules, the Division was being rather lenient.}

I must remark that the artillery regiment alone had losses of 23 dead men up to this day. At the execution in Tulle, from the Divisional staff were, the Ordinance officer Ib, the Ic, the Division-Judge, the Division-Doctor and the Adjutant of the Division-Doctor. Furthermore, at least the Tank-Regiment's commander and the commander of the Anti-Aircraft Detachment appeared. Since I haven't got all the names together at the moment, I will shortly communicate these together with their present-day addresses.

As I said, I don't feel guilty about this issue, unless, one lays on me the blame for the transmission of the order of the Armed Forces Command. {an example of the classic, "I was only obeying orders" defence.}

On the accusation:

If in the war-diary of the German Main Liaison Staff 588 (IMT XXXVII, S. 1 ff) on page 12 the talk is about, the Regimental Staff and 2 Battalions of the SS-Panzer Division "Das Reich" being available for the undertaking in Cantal, this planning was outdated by the later order of the Commander-in-Chief West {Hugo Sperrle,} according to which we, the General Command LXVI, Reserve Corps with 189 Reserve Division and the 2nd SS-Panzer Division should support the action. In any case, it is not in my recollection that during the advance I put troops into action for pacification, as well as at handing sections to other agencies. I do not consider it possible that the fight-group lagging behind was entrusted with these assignments either, since it was not mobile. The deployment of the Division is to be understood from the viewpoint that we were on a march through the land, and should therefore not be withdrawn from our actual task (advance on Normandy). {Lammerding does not mention the sweep carried out by members of the Division, which included the attack on Marsoulas on 10th June. In fact he seems to be saying that no such actions were carried out. In this he was wrong, but I am inclined to think that this omission was due to a failure of memory, rather than any attempt at deceit.}

III. Also respecting Oradour-sur-Glane, I declare that I didn't have anything to do with the issue. After we moved away northwards from Tulle, probably on the 10. 6. 1944, we reached Limoges on the same day. During this advance, we had constant contact with the Resistance; individual people were caught during the march if vehicles got left behind. Thus for example, the commander of the 3rd Battalion Der Führer, SS-Sturmbannführer Kämpfe with his driver, was captured when he was held up for a moment at the roadside. I had the thought in Limoges to take up negotiations with the Resistance. For this purpose I let all the prisoners of the Local Garrison Headquarters be made available to me for barter with the Resistance, on the basis of a German soldier for 10 Frenchmen. I envisioned getting back my people. Furthermore I published a command that no more Frenchmen were to be shot in future, contrary to the command of the Commander-in-Chief West {Hugo Sperrle } since I wanted to have sufficient personnel for exchange. This order was conveyed to all commanders. {A point to note here is that Lammerding says that Kämpfe and his driver were captured by the Resistance. Most other statements and reports speak of Kämpfe driving alone and I wonder if Lammerding was confusing this event with the capture of Gerlach and his driver on the same day. Also note that Lammerding is quoting the date as being the 10th of June, whereas in fact both captures took place on the 9th.}

In the same evening still, or in the next morning, the regimental-commander, SS-Standartenführer Stadler, then reported to me that a company (3 DF) under the leadership of SS-Sturmbannführer Diekmann had set in march to Oradour in order to free captured Germans from there. An SS-Obersturmführer came to him and reported to him, that he had extricated himself from Oradour before he was shot. However, more soldiers were there. His driver was meanwhile already shot. I now take reference to a report of Otto Weidinger, that I present, which describes these events. Weidinger was intended as a replacement regimental-commander for Stadler at that time. {The SS-Obersturmführer was Karl Gerlach and his driver was indeed shot by the Resistance, if you have not read his report, it is located here.}


The planned departure by the regimental-commander took place because he hoped to be able to free Kämpfe, the captured battalion-commander. In addition the Resistance should be brought in and possibly a relationship taken up with them. When Diekmann with the 3rd Company under the leadership of the SS-Hauptsturmführer Kauffman {sic} approached Oradour, they had been fired at, on which Diekmann contrary to orders counter attacked, had the place combed, all the male population driven together, while the women and children were locked up into the church. He then had all the men shot and burned down the houses, from which shots had been fired, or had been found with ammunition in them. A conflagration occurred on that occasion, by which the church was seized and the women and children allegedly burned; due to exploding ammunition in the church, it was impossible to rescue them. {This mention of shots and ammunition being found in Oradour has been consistently denied by all other witnesses {including the French} and it is worth remembering that Lammerding never visited Oradour, so all his information came from others.}

So anyway, Diekmann reported the events at Oradour after his return. The regimental-commander was extremely indignant over the high-handedness of Diekmann and immediately reported to me the incident itself; I saw such gross disobedience of orders in the behaviour of Diekmann, that without knowledge of the actual events, I instructed the Division-Judge to file court-martial-procedures. Because of the lack of personnel, I could not replace Diekmann myself; since I didn't have any more substitutes as a battalion-commander. He fell in Normandy at the first action after our arriving. Over the whereabouts of the court-martial-files, it is only known to me that the vehicle of the Division-Judge was lost in the fighting in Normandy and all the files were also lost on that occasion. {I am sure that Lammerding could have replaced Diekmann if he had been sufficiently angered by his actions. I feel that the simple truth is that Lammerding was perhaps somewhat irritated, but felt that the matter could easily wait for a more convenient time. In order to do things properly and 'by the book', he did ask the Division-Judge Okrent to open a case and start investigating.}

I must correct myself: The company-boss of the 3rd Company is called Kahn. Over his whereabouts, nothing is known to me. {The use of the present tense means that Lammerding knew that Kahn was still alive and had not died either in the war or later.}

It is not known to me that the women and children were shot in Oradour. I found out recently that one of those sentenced to death at the Oradour trial, Sergeant Boos, came back to Germany, he can possibly say something about this. I anyhow can give no better information about this. I didn't pursue the Oradour incident afterwards either, since I was striving to get the Division to Normandy. About the further court-martial-examinations on the German side, also nothing is known to me. {Lammerding is saying in effect that the Oradour incident was a matter of minor importance to him and he was busy with the really important matter of containing the Normandy Invasion.}

I cannot say much about the aforementioned Oradour trial myself. I myself was not on trial. My offer to appear as a witness was thought to be too dangerous in view of my death sentence and that the foreign ministry would be unable to protect me, also that interrogation by a French judge in Germany could lead to my arrest due to the constitutional law situation. I left Dusseldorf in January 1953 on the advice that the British occupying power supposedly could execute a warrant of arrest for me on behalf of the French. The warning was given me by the German side. I then drove to Munich and stayed in the American occupation zone for the period until 1954. Meanwhile my lawyer, attorney Dr Koch, negotiated with the Americans, because of the further special treatment. The Americans gave to understand that I should remain hidden in their occupation zone because they were against an extradition. When with the transfer of sovereignty to the Federal Republic a new situation evolved for me, I returned again to Dusseldorf with the approval of the Americans at the end of October 1954. However, I must remark, that a visit to my apartment has never taken place and that no interest from the English side in order to arrest me has ever been shown after my return. {This is the first time I have heard mention by Lammerding that he offered to go to Bordeaux as a witness.}

Summarizing, I can only say again, that I didn't have anything personally to do directly with the events and therefore do not feel myself responsible. I would be grateful if the proceeding is only carried out by the German side using generally accepted principles, after the different attacks made against me, so that I have a basis to proceed against slanderers.

read - approved - signed

Heinrich Bernhard Lammerding {the original was signed in full as: "Heinrich Bernhard Lammerding"}

Closed



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Translators notes on use of symbols:

1) The symbols, "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%" above, mark the end of the original document.

2) The symbols, "++++++++++++++++++++++++" above have been used above to show the page breaks in the original document.

Translators notes on the use of parenthesis in this document:

1) Normal brackets, are as shown in the original document, for example, "2 Kinder im Alter von 24 Jahren (Sohn)"

2) Abbreviations and contractions have been shown expanded inside square brackets, for example, "geb. [oren]" and "v. g. u. [vorgelesen genehmigt unterschrieben]"

3) Missing information, such as names, have been shown in italics inside ellipses, for example, "since this education ran in the framework of the Black Reichswehr" {the name given to the armed forces of Germany which exceeded the limits set down in the Treaty of Versailles and which were kept hidden from the outside world}.

Translators notes on uncertainty of spellings:

1) Due to various words being 'blacked-out' in the original document I have had to fill in the blanks as best as I could. Where there is uncertainty as to the precise letter, I have used an "x" to act as a placeholder.

2) It is possible that some of the blacked-out names that I have filled in, may be incorrect and in future will need revising.

Translators notes on Ranks:

1) I have not translated any ranks, if you wish to see the meaning and / or the equivalent in either the German, American or British armies of the Second World War era, have a look at: SS-Rank Table showing equivalents in the German, American and British Armies.


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© Michael Williams: March 2012